In 1964, John Bell produced two remarkable results in quantum foundations: the Bell-Kochen-Specker theorem, regarding quantum contextuality, and Bell's theorem, regarding locality. This work eventually led to a resurgence of interest in quantum foundations, as well as the birth of the entirely new field of quantum information processing. Yet despite the importance of these results, the Bell-Kochen-Specker theorem is little known among physicists, and Bell's theorem is widely misunderstood. In this talk, Dr. Becker will explain the history leading up to Bell's work, briefly dive into the implications of the two theorems, and discuss the misconceptions about Bell's theorem that have persisted for the past half-century.
Adam Becker is an author, astrophysicist, and public speaker. His book, What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics (Basic Books, 2018) is a "thorough, illuminating exploration of the most consequential controversy raging in modern science," according to the New York Times. The Washington Post called it "splendid," and Science dubbed Adam "a riveting storyteller." Adam has also written for the BBC, NPR, Scientific American, NOVA, New Scientist, and other science media outlets. He recorded a video series with the BBC, and has appeared on numerous podcasts. Adam has a PhD in cosmology from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in philosophy and in physics from Cornell University. He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Book Grant for his work on What Is Real. Adam is a visiting scholar in the Office for the History of Science and Technology at UC Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, California.